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A survey and critical analysis of the teaching of medical ethics in UK medical schools

Lookup NU author(s): Mx Jan Deckers



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


This article surveys and analyses the reflections on medical ethics teaching by colleagues teaching in United Kingdom (UK) medical schools in the early 2020s. Participants were recruited mainly by using the worldwide web to identify 64 people from 41 UK medical schools who were thought to contribute to teaching medical ethics based on their internet profiles. Twenty-three people responded. The survey data reveals that many staff are happy with the provision of medical ethics teaching, but also that some are concerned about the quality of provision due to concerns with staff expertise and teaching time. In spite of the fact that the General Medical Council (GMC) and other organisations are perceived to have contributed to raising the profile of medical ethics, there is significant concern with how it is embedded within local UK medical curricula. Some participants contributed hardly or not at all to research in medical ethics, where one attributed this decline in research to the pandemic. Future work will need to address what can be done to improve the provision of medical ethics teaching to address some of these findings and to survey and analyse how perceptions might have changed in light of recent challenges and developments.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Deckers J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Ethics Education

Year: 2023

Volume: 8

Pages: 177–194

Print publication date: 01/06/2023

Online publication date: 03/11/2022

Acceptance date: 12/09/2022

Date deposited: 04/11/2022

ISSN (print): 2363-9997

ISSN (electronic): 2364-0006

Publisher: Springer Nature


DOI: 10.1007/s40889-022-00158-2


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